More Male! ((Making a) Living on the Edge)

I’m enjoying talking to people about how they (try to) make a living creatively. Recently I talked to Susanne Stauch, a product designer & goldsmith who has a diploma in collaborative product design and has studied mass customisation & open source. I’m working with her and Nadia on something called Cookies’n’Code which is all about “hacking” your life – more on this to follow, so watch this space…

The always inspiring Jon Bounds needs no introduction to anyone who’s been around cataspanglish – my chat with him for the series enabled us to get down and dirty in depth about what he’s been up to for the last few years and talk Conversational Psychogeography, Networks, Strong vs Weak Ties, creativity & cash.

Here’s the video of Susa and part 1 of 4 with Jon. To see the whole kit and caboodle head over to Susa on (Making a) Living on the Edge and Jon on (Making a) Living on the Edge

The UrbanLabs Club?

UL2

It’s been a crazy, inspiring, tiring month or so with the Citilab presentation at the CCCB, my visit to Birmingham and then UrbanLabs – and a lot of time reflecting, analysing and plotting.

Something’s been bugging me for months now & I’m beginning to understand what it is – ever since my first visit to Birmingham I’ve been trying to put my finger on the “difference”, on what is happening there, what is (or isn’t) happening here, on the role of Citilab and on the part of Cataspanglish in all this.

It all seems to have gelled in the last 48 hours – the “difference” or “solution” is twofold, sharing & community.

The Birmingham scene is the way it is now after around two years of people getting together, doing things and having as much a relationship offline as on. Dave Harte showed in his UrbanLabs presentation how this had happened and backed up my own experience when speaking with peeps from Brum. Twitter seems to be the fabric that holds their community together and the other important point is the willingness in Birmingham of the people to come together and use their skills & knowledge to to participate in, criticise and construct a wider community (not just the geeks) throughout the city and now further afield.

Oh yes, and with a sense of humour.

Citilab Presentation October 2009 - Digital Cities-1

So everything seems so deadly serious here (usually – thank you Platoniq for the construction of the Twittometer for the Grande Finale of UrbanLabs!) and often the concept of sharing seems like something from another planet. There can’t be community when people won’t share and there are clearly many in Spain (& elsewhere of course) who are using social media as just the latest tool on the block. While I was in Birmingham I spoke about social media in Spain to a group of students and lecturers from the Birmingham City University, talking about the difference between the way social media is usually used in Spain and a few inspiring projects such as Copons 2.0 (created by Ricard Espelt). A Spanish student said that he doubted anything would change as in his opinion his fellow countrymen & women are too entrenched in the status quo.

Ironically while I’ve been writing this, Ana has already posted a call to arms – and that’s what I want this to be. If we are to form communities amongst those of us who are doing or want to do, we cannot have just have these great, inspiring events once a year. So what I want to suggest is taking the spirit and PRACTICE of UrbanLabs and turn it into something more frequent. Let’s have some sort of follow up on a regular basis, a Saturday morning every couple of months and with participation through video-conference for those who can’t be there in public. Let’s get the UrbanLabs Club going and continue the narrative, the dialogue and the sharing. Let’s make the bloody community!

If you are interested in making an UrbanLabs “Club” please leave a comment.

Developing Birmingham's Digital District – big pipes, money, creativity, innovation and chest wigs

digitalbirmingham

Last week I was in Birmingham to talk about Citilab-Cornellà at Developing Birmingham’s Digital District. The aim of the event was:

… to  provide an early opportunity for policy makers and stakeholders from Birmingham and the West Midlands to quiz other major European cities that are further along the journey in developing their own digital district. This dialogue will inform Birmingham’s policy thinking and ideas as the city embarks upon developing its own digital district.

Here’s my “presentation” which doesn’t make much sense on it’s own but thanks to Rhubarb Radio, you can listen along by clicking on the button below:

Listen to Developing Birmingham's Digital District Seminar on Rhubarb Radio

Click here to listen to all the presentations

Paul Hadley filmed the panel session –

Birmingham’s Digital District Part 2- the Panel Session from Paul Hadley on Vimeo.

There was some pretty lively twitter stuff going on too: #bhamdd

PodCamp Gives Back

seed

(image taken from the presentation "Citilab Model?" by Ramon Sangúesa at I+C+i at CCCB, Barcelona)

So it's pretty late and I'm thinking and watching the world go by on twitter and for some reason PodCamp Barcelona comes to mind. And I've got this idea that all of these incredibly talented, smart, creative, knowledgeable people coming together and sharing is great and that we are creating knowledge and social value with our peers, but it occurs to me that we should take it further. We still have to take an "official" decision about PodCamp Barcelona 2010, but as Cataspanglish we know we want to hold it in El Masnou. So what I'm thinking is that we should give back to the citizens of Masnou who have supported the PodCamp for two years. If all the people who participate in PodCamp are willing I would like to do some concrete things leading up the event itself, Birmingham style Social Media Surgeries, Podcasting workshops, mashup sessions, whatever. Let's share the knowledge and skills we have with the people who are giving us the opportunity to get together – what do you think? Are you in for giving back?

The Birmingham School?

Jon Hickman: MA in Social Media from Kasper Sorensen on Vimeo.

When it was announced that Birmingham City University was going to be offering the first MA in Social Media anywhere, the blog & twittersphere went crazy here in Spain. One of the many reasons for this is the power of validation that events from elsewhere have here, something I will explore later in another post as part of a wider analysis of cultural differences & social media. I like this video of course leader Jon Hickman presenting the MA because it’s the antithesis of academic presentation in Spain. It’s in what I’m becoming to think of as “the Birmingham School” – in a pub and with an appearance by Andy Mabbett!

The video by Kasper Sorensen was recorded  “At WxWM Jon Hickman from Birmingham City University gave a presentation about the Uni’s plans to launch an MA in Social Media.WxWM is the West Midlands’ answer to Texas’ SxSW if you hadn’t figured that out already ;-)”

MA Social Media blog

twitter hashtag #masocialmedia

“Official” University page

Twitter Jon Hickman